Saturday, August 27, 2011

Student vs Teacher

I have finished my first week of school and let me say, it is so strange being back. Sitting in a classroom, listening to lectures and taking notes, not being in charge of the class. I have developed a greater respect for the teachers that I have had over the years and a greater admiration for their patience. I am more determined to do well in class. I think every person, before they go to university, should spend a year teaching something, anything. What they teach doesn't matter because it's the experience of teaching that they should experience. After being on the other side of those desks I kind of wish I could go back and just thank all of my teachers. I know for sure my grades would have been better!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Death and shock

I was driving down I-65 the other day and saw a horrible accident- a kitten had been hit and was in the final stages of dying. I just started bawling and somehow made it to my parents work place before I pulled over and just sobbed for several minutes straight. After I stopped and got myself back under control, I was reminded of an experience that I had in China my first year. It was my first major bus ride across the city and on my way, I saw a woman who had been hit by a bus. I assume that she was dead because she was lying in such an awkward position and nobody was trying to help her. The bus that had hit her was empty and a traffic cop was directing cars around the scene (one of the only times I ever saw a police man actually doing something). Yet while I was in shock, I did not grieve over this woman as I grieved over that kitten.

I did not cry when I saw this broken woman yet many questions and emotions raced through me. Who was she? Did she have family or friends who would miss her? Why didn't she see the bus? Regret at the life lost. Wondering what she believed- whether it was just a life lost or a soul as well? Horror at seeing a person lying dead in the road. Shame that nobody covered her as she lay there with her skirt up around her waist. Shame that she had been given no dignity in death. And shame that I did not stop, did not get off the bus even if I couldn't speak the language.

After the kitten accident, in these past few days, I have been thinking and comparing the two situations. Both the kitten and the woman had been hit in an accident yet I cried over the animal and not the human. I wanted to know why and I think that I've realized a kitten represents innocence to me. It's defenseless and weak. The woman was middle aged and had the choice to cross the street as the bus was turning. She knew better while a kitten would not necessarily know. She knew better. She knew the risks she was taking crossing the street without a pedestrian crossing light. She took an action and actions have consequences, something that she unfortunately learned the hard way.

This is something I'm going to have to do some more thinking on. I'm still shock and rather embarrassed that I grieved over the kitten more than the woman. Maybe it was a wake up call to care more about my fellow human beings. I'm just not sure. More thoughts to come...

Thursday, August 4, 2011


It's been about a month now since I've gotten back from China but it's hard to believe. It feels like it's been ages and yet, at the same time, like I left only a few days ago. In so many ways, it's starting to feel like a dream. A very nice, occasionally crazy, always interesting dream. Were the people real? The places? The food, the experiences, the memories? What was real and what was a dream? The harder I try to grasp a memory, to grasp or stop a moment in time, the more it feels that time is slipping out of my reach. I've discovered how much I love sand timers. Watching as the sand slowly trickles down. While it doesn't look like a lot at first, the pile grows and grows until it covers the bottom and the sand that fell before. I can shake the timer side to side but it won't affect how fast the sand falls nor will it stop the sand from falling. I've come to realize how much time is like that. I can try to do something, to pause time or disturb it so that I have more time but no matter what I do, time continues to flow. I want to pause time, to try to remember what has happened, but if I try to do that, I forget to live in the present. If I try to plan too much of the future, I again forget about the present.

China taught me so much about life and living in the present. It's only now, as I wait for the next chapter in my life to begin, that I've begun to realize the kind of life that I want to lead. I want to live a life that is in the present, that doesn't regret the past or worry about the future. I want to enjoy the sunshine, take time to laugh and spend time with friends and family. I want to love people fully and not worry about the little things. I want to never be in such a rush that I forget to take time to thank God for giving me another day to live, for giving me food and clothing and so much more than I ever need, for giving me hope in death. Most of all, I want to live a life unafraid of dying, however it may happen. It's a way of life that might be different from what the world expects or approves of but it is the life that I am choosing.